New York Mets: Jay Bruce

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Reds 3

April, 5, 2014
Apr 5
4:06
PM ET
NEW YORK -- A day after Lucas Duda had the heroics with a pair of two-run homers, the guy who lost the first-base competition had the big moment.

Ike Davis had a pinch-hit grand slam against J.J. Hoover in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Mets to a 6-3 win against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.

The only thing missing was Justin Turner to deliver a whipped-cream pie during the postgame celebration. Jonathon Niese did the honors instead.

It was Davis’ third career walk-off homer.

The last walk-off grand slam for the Mets: Jordany Valdespin on April 24, 2013, against the Dodgers’ Josh Wall.

The Mets also successfully challenged an umpire’s call for the first time this season during the pivotal frame.

Juan Lagares opened the bottom of the ninth with a walk. Anthony Recker then attempted to sacrifice Lagares to second with the Mets trailing, 3-2.

First baseman Joey Votto pounced on the bunt and tried to get the lead runner. Second-base ump James Hoye ruled Lagares out, but Terry Collins challenged the call and successfully had it overturned after a two-minute, 14-second review.

Ruben Tejada, attempting to sacrifice both runners ahead, then walked to load the bases with none out.

That prompted Collins to turn to Davis to pinch hit.

Hoover was handling the closing duties with Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Broxton on the disabled list.

How did the Mets get in the predicament?

Dillon Gee, cruising through a stellar outing in the eighth, surrendered a two-run homer to Brandon Phillips on pitch No. 100 as Cincinnati took a 3-2 lead.

Southpaw Scott Rice had been waiting to enter to face the next two batters -- the lefties Votto and Jay Bruce -- with a runner on third and the Mets leading by a run. So Phillips likely was Gee’s final batter regardless of the outcome of the one-out faceoff.

Gee also allowed a fifth-inning solo homer to Ryan Ludwick. Gee’s line: 7.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR.

Curtis Granderson had lifted the Mets to a 2-1 lead in the sixth with his first homer with the ballclub. The two-run shot against Johnny Cueto landed in the upper deck in right field.

Cueto had held the Mets hitless until Tejada's one-out double in the fifth.

It’s a hit: Leadoff hitter Eric Young Jr. had a seventh-inning infield single, snapping his hitless drought at 15 at-bats to open the season. He earlier reached base on an error by second baseman Phillips.

Duda day: A day after belting a pair of two-run homers, Duda went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Entering the series, Collins indicated Davis likely would start once against the Reds in order to keep his bat sharp for pinch-hitting. So Davis figures to find himself in the lineup Sunday.

K zone: The Mets collectively struck out 10 times, upping their season total to 53. That is the franchise record through five games, topping 44 in 1968, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

What’s next: Niese will be activated from the disabled list to pitch the homestand finale. He opposes right-hander Alfredo Simon at 1:10 p.m. Sunday.

Wilmer Flores is expected to be sent to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear the roster spot for Niese’s addition. The Mets had been carrying an extra bench player and four starting pitchers.

Flores joined the Mets when Daniel Murphy went on paternity leave and remained because Chris Young landed on the disabled list with a right quadriceps injury. Flores should play more shortstop than second base in the near future with the 51s.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Reds 3

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
10:12
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda, in his first game since Terry Collins announced plans to give him an “extended look” at first base, spoke loudly with his bat.

Duda slugged a pair of two-run homers against Mike Leake and the Mets notched their first win of the season, holding on for a 4-3 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on a rainy Friday night at Citi Field.

Jose Valverde, filling in for injured Bobby Parnell, recorded his first save as a Met and the 287th of his career -- two shy of matching Armando Benitez for 26th all time. Valverde allowed two baserunners but escaped for his first save since June 11, 2013 with Detroit.


Elsa/Getty ImagesLucas Duda rounds the bases after his second two-run homer Friday.


Only two of Duda’s 15 homers last season came with men on base.

Duda finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs and a walk. It marked his fifth career multihomer game. He also scooped two bounced throws from David Wright at first base.

Oh, Jenrry! Jenrry Mejia struck out a career-high eight batters while limiting Cincinnati to one run on four hits and five walks in six innings. He threw 101 pitches, his most since also reaching that total in Triple-A on April 13, 2011.

Mejia did receive a first-inning bailout from left fielder Eric Young Jr., who jumped Endy Chavez-style at the wall to take away a would-be first-inning homer from Brandon Phillips.

For the second straight game, Mejia was drilled with a comebacker. In Phillips’ next at-bat, he smoked a grounder off Mejia’s right ankle in the third. In Montreal last Friday, Mejia had been struck in the right forearm by a line drive, which resulted in inflammation and the need for X-rays, but no fracture.

Oh, pen: The maligned bullpen inherited a 4-1 lead from Mejia with three innings to play and immediately started giving it back.

John Lannan surrendered a two-out, two-run homer to Jay Bruce in the seventh as Cincinnati pulled within a run.

However, Kyle Farnsworth subsequently recorded four outs, topping out at 94 mph, to get the ball to Valverde.

The bullpen has now allowed 14 runs (13 earned) in 12 1/3 innings -- good for a 9.49 ERA.

Murphy’s flaw: Daniel Murphy committed his third error in two games since returning from paternity leave. Murphy could not handle Todd Frazier’s would-be double-play grounder in the sixth, instead resulting in two runners on base and none out with the Mets clinging to a 2-1 lead. Mejia bailed out Murphy, ultimately stranding runners on the corners by striking out Leake.

Silent nights: Travis d’Arnaud and E.Y. Jr. each went 0-for-3. Each is now hitless in 12 at-bats this season.

Met his match: Speedster Billy Hamilton has been caught stealing only twice in his big-league career. Both times have been by the Mets.

Juan Centeno did the honors last season. Friday night, it was Anthony Recker, after Hamilton entered as a pinch-runner with one out in the eighth and the Mets leading by a run.

What’s next: Opening Day starters Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.40 ERA) and Johnny Cueto (0-1, 1.29) face off at 1:10 p.m. Saturday at Citi Field.

Who should Wright pick for HR Derby?

July, 8, 2013
7/08/13
1:50
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Who should David Wright select to participate in the 2013 Home Run Derby when selections are announced at 6 p.m. ET on Sportscenter tonight? Members of ESPN’s Home Run Tracker team weighed in.

Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves

Upton has only one home run since May 17, but his shortest home run is 404 feet. Remarkably, his 427.9 average home run distance is highest among all players with more than one home run. Upton has two 460-foot home runs and six others of at least 425 feet. Of his 15 home runs, 13 would have been out of Citi Field.

Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds

Bruce has eight home runs that have gone at least 425 feet, tied with Upton for the most in the NL.

June solidified Bruce’s nomination, as he hit his five longest home runs of the season- all at least 430 feet. His headline home run was a 472-foot blast off Patrick Corbin, the third-longest home run this season.

Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates

Alvarez edges out Paul Goldschmidt by the narrowest of margins, getting the nod because he has hit two home runs over 450 feet this season and has three others over 430 feet.

Fourteen of his 22 home runs have been at least 400 feet, and all but four of his home runs would have been out of Citi Field.

Alvarez has nine home runs classified by www.hittrackeronline.com as “No Doubt” home runs, the most in the majors. (No Doubt home run means the ball cleared the fence by at least 20 vertical feet and landed at least 50 feet past the fence).

Other NL options:

Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks: Goldschmidt falls just short of nomination despite having hit three home runs over 440 feet this season and another 437 feet.

Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies: Gonzalez leads the NL with 24 home runs, aided by his league-leading 11 home runs classified by www.hittrackeronline.com as “Just Enoughs,” meaning home runs that cleared the fence by less than 10 feet.

Gonzalez does have five home runs that went at least 430 feet, but his average home run distance is only 406.5 feet.

Domonic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies: Brown is second in the NL with 22 home runs, but only four of those went over 400 feet. Brown has not hit a single home run to left or left center field.

Brown’s average home run distance is 381.7 feet, the lowest in baseball among players with over 10 home runs.

Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals: Beltran has 19 home runs, but not one has gone over 425 feet.

Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals: Holliday is third in the majors with an average home run distance of 419.2 feet (min. 10 home runs), and he has seven home runs of at least 425 feet. However, with only 11 home runs on the season, Holliday does not make the cut.

Rapid Reaction: Reds 7, Mets 4

May, 22, 2013
5/22/13
4:20
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: Matt Harvey, who once every five days gives Mets fans a reason to cheer, is not invincible. He remains unbeaten, though.

Ike Davis, meanwhile, continues to draw the ire of Mets fans.

Rick Ankiel’s third extra-base hit of the game -- a run-scoring triple in the seventh -- knocked out Mat Latos, pulled the Mets even at 4 and got Harvey off the hook for his first loss since last Sept. 12.

The Cincinnati Reds nonetheless ultimately completed their second straight three-game sweep at Citi Field with a 7-4 win on Wednesday afternoon.


Seth Wenig/Associated Press
Matt Harvey ended up with a no-decision, not his first 2013 loss.


Bobby Parnell, who had not allowed a run in May while posting three wins and four saves, surrendered three ninth-inning runs.

With runners on the corners and one out, Brandon Phillips sent a go-ahead RBI double down the first-base. Davis let the ball go by, thinking it was foul, but first-base ump Phil Cuzzi disagreed as Cincinnati took a 5-4 lead. (Davis should have just fielded the ball and let Cuzzi make the call. He would not have had a play at the plate, but would have gotten an out at first.) Todd Frazier followed with a two-run single.

It was Davis’ second questionable play at first base in the series. He also had a crushing obstruction call against him in the series opener when he watched a ball behind him.

The Mets (17-27) fell 10 games under .500 this early in a season for the first time since they were 16-26 on May 19, 2001.

Harvey was charged with four runs and nine hits -- both season highs -- in 6 1/3 innings. His ERA rose to 1.93, although he remained 5-0. Harvey threw 116 pitches, the second-highest total of his career.

He next pitches with an extra day of rest Tuesday at Citi Field against the Yankees, likely against Hiroki Kuroda.

Harvey surrendered a two-run homer to reigning NL Player of the Week Joey Votto in the third inning as Cincinnati took a 2-1 lead. The Mets managed to even the score in the fifth on Daniel Murphy’s sacrifice fly, which plated Ruben Tejada, who had doubled.

With his pitch count rising in a tie game in the seventh, Harvey showed rare mortality. He allowed consecutive one-out singles to Zack Cozart, Votto and Phillips and departed with runners on the corners and the Mets trailing, 3-2. Scott Rice entered for his MLB-high 27th appearance and coaxed a tapper to first base from lefty-hitting Jay Bruce. Votto comfortably scored for the fourth run charged to Harvey and a 4-2 deficit.

Cozart went 4-for-4 against Harvey. No player had more than two hits in a game against Harvey in his previous 19 career major league starts.

Votto’s homer was only the fourth long ball surrendered by Harvey in 10 starts this season. He joined Justin Morneau, Matt Kemp and Clint Barmes.

Murphy’s single in the seventh against Latos scored Tejada and pulled the Mets within 4-3, setting up Ankiel’s game-tying triple. It was Ankiel’s fourth career three extra-base-hit game. The others came with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007 and ’09.

IKE WATCH: Davis went 0-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout and is now 1-for-his-last-38 (.026).

With Lucas Duda on second base, the score tied at 2 and two outs in the sixth, Davis flied out to the track in center field. He is now hitless in his last 25 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

In the eighth, Davis walked with one out to push the potential go-ahead run to second base.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets take a day off, then welcome the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves to Citi Field. Jeremy Hefner (0-5, 5.00 ERA) opposes right-hander Kris Medlen (1-5, 3.02) in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener.

Series preview: Mets vs. Reds

May, 19, 2013
5/19/13
10:56
PM ET

Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Mat Latos during a three-game series at Citi Field.
METS (17-24, fourth place/NL East) vs. CINCINNATI REDS (26-18, second place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Shaun Marcum (0-4, 6.75) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 2.60), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-4, 5.40) vs. RHP Mike Leake (3-2, 3.72), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (5-0, 1.55) vs. RHP Mat Latos (4-0, 2.91), 1:10 p.m. ET

Reds short hops

• Right-hander Johnny Cueto will make his first start since April 13, after which he landed on the disabled list with a strained right lat muscle. He also experienced an oblique issued while on the DL. Cueto tossed 58 pitches over five scoreless innings for Double-A Dayton on Tuesday, then threw an additional 23 pitches in the bullpen. Rookie Tony Cingrani (2-0, 3.27 ERA in six starts) was dispatched to Triple-A Louisville.

• Catcher Ryan Hanigan was hitting .079 with no extra-base hits through 12 starts in April before landing on the disabled list with a sore right thumb and strained left oblique that diminished his production. Since returning May 10, Hanigan has hit .300 (6-for-20) with a homer, three RBIs and three walks in seven games (six starts). His homer Saturday was his first long ball since July 6, 2012.


Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Former NL MVP Joey Votto's home run stroke has returned.


• First baseman Joey Votto reached base in eight straight plate appearances before the streak ended Sunday. He has an eight-game hitting streak during which he is hitting .515. Votto has 12 multi-hit games in his past 19.

Votto, who went homerless in 30 games between the regular season and postseason last year after returning Sept. 5 from knee surgery, has rediscovered his power after a slow April. He has six homers, including long balls Friday and Saturday at Philly. He reached base a career-high six times Saturday.

Votto (.473) and teammate Shin-Soo Choo (.456) rank first and second in the majors in on-base percentage.

• Choo, a 30-year-old South Korea native represented by Scott Boras, plays center field and bats leadoff with the Reds after previously playing right field with the Cleveland Indians. He is a free agent after the season and likely will draw interest from the Mets. Choo was acquired by Cincinnati on Dec. 11 in a three-team deal. The Reds are only responsible for $3.5 million of his $7.375 million salary this season.

• Three-time Gold Glove winner Brandon Phillips ranks second in the NL with 36 RBIs, one behind leader Troy Tulowitzki. The cleanup hitter benefits from Choo and Votto hitting ahead of him. Phillips has 220 doubles with Cincinnati, tied with Joe Morgan for the franchise record by a second baseman.

• Third baseman Todd Frazier, a Rutgers prospect from Toms River, N.J., snapped a career-high 0-for-19 skid Saturday. He then went 2-for-4 Sunday at Philly. Frazier has pronounced home-road splits: He is hitting .293 with six homers and 19 RBIs in Cincy and .164 with no homers and eight RBIs on the road.

• The Reds on Sunday suffered only their second loss in 18 starts by left fielder Xavier Paul.

• Outfielder Donald Lutz is regarded as the first German player in MLB. While children of American servicemen have been born in Germany and reached MLB, Lutz actually was born in the U.S. but moved with his German mother back to her native country at eight months old after his parents divorced.

• Flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman has suffered consecutive blown saves after converting his first eight opportunities of the season. The second setback came Sunday, when Freddy Galvis and Erik Kratz homered against Chapman for a 3-2 walk-off win by the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

• Right fielder Jay Bruce has a 10-game hitting streak, during which he has produced a .390 average (16-for-41) with four homers and 12 RBIs. Bruce had 40 strikeouts and one homer in 115 April at-bats. During the height of his struggles, Bruce had a Twitter rant during which he wrote to critical fans (via blogredmachine.com):

I appreciate all the tweets, good and bad, actually. You guys are what drive the game. I’m obviously not hitting as well as I’d like to, yet….I actually feel sorry for the people on here who feel that it’s necessary to try and put me down on twitter. It really just explains…Further who you are, and there are obviously things in your life that you’re unhappy about and you take it out on me via twitter…I suggest you look into talking with a life coach or something to help you get over whatever you have going on in your life. There is obviously a….lack of something going on, and I hope you guys get it straightened out, because you all sound like idiots Everyone have a good night. Haha.

• Shortstop Zack Cozart was scratched Sunday after becoming sick.

• Left fielder Chris Heisey has been on the DL since April 29 with a strained right hamstring. He tweaked the muscle in a rehab game last Monday.

Mat Latos nearly was 5-0 heading into a Wednesday matchup with 5-0 Matt Harvey. In Latos’ last start, he gave up a ninth-inning triple at Miami and departed with a 2-1 lead. Then Chapman gave up a game-tying triple. Cincinnati won in extra innings.

Toxicology report -- bad MLB contracts

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
8:18
AM ET

US Presswire
Vernon Wells, Juan Uribe and Chone Figgins (l to r) are among the bloated contracts around Major League Baseball.
The Mets’ first task this offseason regarding Jason Bay, and for that matter Johan Santana, likely should be to see if any team has trade interest. A swap appears unlikely, though, even discounting the no-trade clause each possesses.

After all, Bay is hitting .155 with eight homers in 187 at-bats. And he is owed $19 million next season including a 2014 buyout, making it a toxic contract.

Similarly, Santana -- despite the June 1 no-hitter -- finishes the season on the DL after allowing six-plus runs in each of his final five starts. Santana is owed $31 million next season including a ’14 buyout.

Still, if the Mets were to find another team with toxic contracts to swap, who is logical? With the help of reporters around baseball, here’s a look …

THEY’VE GOT POTENTIAL

Angels: “Oh, you've come to the right place,” our friend who covers the Angels says. “The Angels have the deadest of dead weight -- Vernon Wells. The Angels are paying Wells $21 million this year to be their fourth outfielder. They owe him $21 million more in 2013 and again in 2014.”

Blue Jays: Left fielder/first baseman Adam Lind (.240, 10 HR, 40 RBIs) is owed $5 million in 2013. With buyouts of option years, the minimum owed is $7 million. “He cleared waivers at one point this season and the Blue Jays would love to get rid of his contract -- even though it's unlikely that can happen,” a team observer said.

Braves: Second baseman Dan Uggla (.215, 19 HR, 73 RBIs) is owed $39 million over the next three seasons.

Cubs: Alfonso Soriano ($18 million apiece in 2013 and ’14) and Carlos Marmol ($9.8 million next season) are the remaining sizable contracts.

Dodgers: The Dodgers inherited Carl Crawford ($102.5 million through 2017) and Josh Beckett ($31.5 million through 2014) while acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, but both should contribute. The least-productive contract: Juan Uribe, who finally pinch hit Sunday after going unused for nearly a month. Uribe, with one year remaining, is still owed $8 million.

Mariners: Left fielder Chone Figgins (.183, 2 HR, 11 RBIs) is owed $8 million next season. Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez (.258, 4 HR, 14 RBIs) is owed $7.5 million in 2013 with a buyout of the following season. Says one observer: “Gutierrez has been hurt or sick for most of his deal and might produce if ever healthy. Figgins is literally dead weight.” Bay does live in the offseason in Seattle. And the combined $15.5 million owed to those two are close to Bay's $19 million.

Marlins: Heath Bell has two years, $18 million guaranteed remaining. He also has a $9 million option for 2015 based on games finished -- 55 the previous season or 100 combined in 2013 and '14. (The Mets have been down that route before.)

Pirates: Clint Barmes is signed for 2013 at $5.5 million. He's hitting .228/.266/.325 with eight homers.

Red Sox: John Lackey (12-12, 6.41 ERA) has two years left for a combined $30.5 million, with a 2015 club option at the major league minimum because of a preexisting elbow injury.

Twins: Nick Blackburn (4-9, 7.39 ERA) and middle infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka -- both relegated to the minors -- are under contract for 2013 and “practically sunken cost.” Blackburn is owed $5.5 million. Nishioka is owed $3.25 million including a 2014 buyout. The Twins likely would never trade Joe Mauer, despite him being owed $23 million annually through 2018.

Yankees: Alex Rodriguez to Flushing? Don't hold your breath. Still, A-Rod is owed $114 million over the next five seasons. Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia could emerge as bad contracts, with $90 million over four seasons and $119 million over five seasons owed, respectively.

(Read full post)

W2W4: Matt Harvey vs. the Reds

August, 16, 2012
8/16/12
9:30
AM ET
Matt Harvey has gotten lefties out by getting them to chase out of the strike zone.
It will be up to Matt Harvey to save the Mets from being swept when he faces the Reds on Thursday night. Harvey went into Chase Field and beat the Diamondbacks in his major-league debut and Great American Ball Park will provide a similar test, albeit against a better opponent.

Harvey does have something going for him: The Reds rank 11th in the NL with a .249 batting average and .315 in on-base percentage against right-handed pitching.

But they rank among the top teams with a .415 slugging percentage against righties (.435 against righties at home), showing the sort of power that R.A. Dickey learned about on Wednesday night. Their 92 homers vs righties rank third in the NL.

Let's take a look at a few key things to know heading into this Harvey appearance.

Pitch to Watch For: High Fastball
Though Harvey had success against the Braves last week, one thing that didn't work as well for him in his last outing was the rising fastball, specifically the one thrown out of the strike zone.

Harvey had been getting hitters to go after that pitch, netting a 40 percent chase rate in his first three starts. That got him a few important extra strikes and thus a few extra outs.

Against the Braves, he threw 13 fastballs up and out of the strike zone, but the Braves only chased two.

Harvey will want to be careful with this pitch against a couple of hitters. The one with the most homers on upper-third-and-above fastballs from righties this season? An unlikely guy: shortstop Zack Cozart with five.

How do you get Jay Bruce out?
Bruce's numbers are much better at home against right-handed pitching than on the road. Of his 42 hits against righties at Great American Ball Park this season, 27 are for extra bases.

That holds up over the last four seasons, as noted in the chart on the right.

Home field provides a major boost to Bruce's batting average and slugging percentage, and that's held true in this series with a home run against both a lefty and a righty.

The keys to beating Bruce?

Be really careful on the first pitch. Bruce has six first-pitch homers this season and all but one have come at home against a right-handed pitcher.

Harvey can't afford to make the same mistake he did against Jason Heyward, who hit a two-run home run on a first-pitch over the middle of the plate in the first inning last Friday.

If a first pitch from a righty is in the strike zone, Bruce swings more than half the time. That puts him in the top 15 percent among major-league hitters.

Don't be afraid to throw the heat: Bruce has seen 188 pitches from a righty that registered at least 93 mph this season. He's hitting .217 when that pitch is an at-bat ender and has only one home run.

Work him inside, rather than away: Bruce is more apt to homer on a pitch on the outer-third of the plate or further away (eight home runs on 248 swings against righties) than on the inner third or closer (three home runs on 131 swings).

Warning: The Reds are comfortable versus inexperienced pitchers
The Reds have faced nine pitchers this season who had appeared in four career games or fewer at the time. Those pitchers had thrown a combined 18 2/3 innings and allowed 20 runs.

The three starting pitchers in that group gave up 10 runs in 14 innings. Two of them lost, including hyped prospect Trevor Bauer, who allowed four runs and five walks in three innings.

Mets morning briefing 8.16.12

August, 16, 2012
8/16/12
5:58
AM ET

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Mike Leake pitched a complete game against the Mets on Wednesday.


A bracelet-deprived R.A. Dickey surrendered consecutive fourth-inning homers to Scott Rolen and Todd Frazier (a 474-foot shot), then a long ball to Jay Bruce in the sixth and the Reds beat the Mets, 6-1, Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park. The three homers matched the most surrendered by Dickey as a Met and deprived him of win No. 16.

Mike Leake became the third pitcher to toss a complete game against the Mets this season, joining Toronto's Brandon Morrow and Atlanta's Paul Maholm.

The Mets dropped a season-worst seven games under .500.

Now, Matt Harvey (1-3, 3.63 ERA) takes the mound tonight trying to arrest a personal three-game losing streak and help the Mets avoid a sweep. He opposes right-hander Homer Bailey (10-7, 4.08).

The Mets have not been swept in Cincinnati since the season-opening series in 2005, when stopgap closer Braden Looper blew Pedro Martinez's debut with the organization on Opening Day by serving up consecutive ninth-inning homers to Adam Dunn and Joe Randa.

Thursday's news reports:

• Plate umpire James Hoye, supported by crew chief Jim Joyce, instructed Dickey to remove a pair a bracelets from the wrist of his glove hand during the second inning. Dickey said the bracelets had been made by his daughters before his offseason climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, and that he had worn the jewelry since January. Trainer Ray Ramirez had to be cut the bracelets because they were homemade and did not have fasteners. Dickey admitted being angry in the moment, but downplayed the significance on his performance -- even though Terry Collins said pitchers loathe changes to their patterns and suggested it may have affected the knuckleballer.


Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Crew chief Jim Joyce offers further explanation to R.A. Dickey about his bracelet removal before the start of the bottom of the third inning.


Dickey said umps told him during a delay when he took the mound the following inning -- which he did not appreciate, either -- that the directive came from Major League Baseball's uniform police, not the Reds or even the crew itself. Collins and Dickey found the timing curious, since it is already August and he had worn the bracelets all season without issue. Dickey said there are jewelry and other assorted violations across baseball, and likened the enforcement to a holding penalty in football -- that it can be enforced on any play. (Case in point: Check Felix Hernandez's left wrist in this photo after completing the final out of his perfect game Wednesday in Seattle.)

This wasn't the first time a bracelet had become an issue in a Mets game. Nine years ago, Jae Weong Seo became unnerved when Braves manager Bobby Cox convinced umps to force him to remove a Buddhist bracelet. Seo immediately surrendered a homer to Andruw Jones in that May 25, 2003 game at Turner Field.

Joyce told Mark Hale in the Post after Wednesday's game: "You cannot wear anything on either hand, bracelet-type or anything like that." Told Dickey had worn it all season, Joyce added: "Tonight we saw it, this crew saw it, and we just asked him to take it off."

• Collins predicted he would go with a different lineup look Thursday, although there is a limit to how much maneuverability the manager has. Options include Kelly Shoppach's Mets debut, Justin Turner getting a start, Jason Bay in the lineup (he has two doubles in three career at-bats against Bailey) or a call-up such as Lucas Duda. Meanwhile, Josh Thole had a franchise-record three passed balls last night.

Read game recaps in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Record, Times and Daily News.

• The Mets will utilize a six-man rotation beginning Sunday, when Jeremy Hefner starts in D.C. Exempt from the arrangement is Dickey, who will continue to pitch every fifth game. So after Hefner, Dickey should come back on standard rest Monday for the series opener against Colorado at Citi Field, followed by Chris Young on Tuesday and Harvey on Wednesday.

The system should allow Harvey to reach the end of the season without exceeding his front-office-imposed 170-inning limit. It also should give Johan Santana and Young needed extra rest in their first seasons back from shoulder surgery. And Jon Niese has performed dramatically better this season with extra rest between starts.

Analyst Bobby Ojeda on SNY found the timing of the six-man-rotation implementation curious. Ojeda suggested September, after rosters expand, might be more appropriate. Ojeda also linked the bracelet and six-man rotation issues. His point: Collins noted pitchers are creatures of habit when discussing the bracelet issue, but yet is implementing a pitching schedule that could disrupt their sacred between-starts routines.

Read more in the Star-Ledger and Post.

• Shoppach, assigned No. 6, joined his new teammates Wednesday. Rob Johnson was demoted to Buffalo to clear the roster spot. Shoppach actually has caught a knuckleballer before. He rose through the minors in the Red Sox organization with knuckleballer Charlie Zink, plus had limited exposure in spring-training camp in 2005 to Tim Wakefield. Collins said he intends to pair Thole with Dickey, but that could be revisited. Red Sox bullpen coach Gary Tuck gave Shoppach a refresher lesson on catching the knuckleball once they learned he was headed to the Mets. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger and the Daily News.


Paul Bereswill/Getty Images
Citi Field hosted an Ecuador-Chile soccer match on Wednesday night. Pictured, Luis Fernando Saritama (19) of Ecuador tries to stop Eduardo Vargas (11) of Chile.


• With the Mets away, Citi Field hosted soccer Wednesday night. Ecuador beat Chile, 3-0. The crowd on the rainy night was announced at 31,901.

• Former Red Sox first-round pick Craig Hansen, who last had appeared in a professional game in 2010 with the Pirates in the minors, surfaced with Brooklyn on Wednesday. Hansen, a St. John's product selected 26th overall in 2005, allowed one run on three hits and a walk in the eighth inning of the Cyclones' 6-2 loss at Tri-City. His contract keeps him under the Mets' control for 2013. Brian Harrison went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in Savannah's 8-2 win against Lexington. Erik Goeddel tossed seven scoreless innings for St. Lucie. Read Wednesday's full minor league recap here.

TRIVIA: Who started for the Reds at pitcher opposite Pedro on Opening Day in 2005 in Cincinnati?

Wednesday's answer: Shoppach made his major league debut with the Red Sox on May 28, 2005 -- four years after being drafted by the organization out of Baylor. He was traded to Cleveland on Jan. 27, 2006 in the deal that landed Coco Crisp in Boston and subsequently played for the Rays before re-signing with Boston as a free agent last offseason.

Mets morning briefing 8.15.12

August, 15, 2012
8/15/12
6:02
AM ET
Josh Edgin inherited a pair of runners from Manny Acosta and served up a game-ending three-run homer to Jay Bruce as the Mets lost the opener of a six-game trip, 3-0 to Cincinnati on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park. The teams combined to leave 24 runners on base entering the bottom of the ninth. The Mets again dropped to a season-low six games under .500. They have been shut out in three of their past six games.

R.A. Dickey bids for his 16th win tonight. He opposes right-hander Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51 ERA).

Wednesday's news reports:

Sandy Alderson told Brian Costa in the Journal he had not yet conversed with ownership regarding precisely where the Mets' 2013 payroll will be set. It's hard to envision the Mets' spending freely this offseason. Home attendance, in terms of raw numbers, is down nearly 1,300 per game. And prices seemingly have been discounted. Yet the Mets only have a salary commitment to Jon Niese beyond the 2013 season. So, technically, as long as the Mets offer a free agent a low base salary in Year 1, they should be able to enter the market this offseason, even if the line is held on payroll. The more interesting question may be whether, even if Alderson had that inclination, he would ever be the winning bidder for a big-time free agent. After all, Alderson appears conservative in his willingness to commit significant years, so there may always be another bidder with a more generous offer.


William Perlman/US Presswire
Sandy Alderson said he had not received a 2013 payroll from owner Fred Wilpon.


Officially, Alderson told Costa regarding next year's payroll: "I haven't had any conversations with ownership about it. I'm still focused on 2012, as is the rest of the front office. Over the next several weeks, that focus will shift, but it really hasn't yet."

Regarding David Wright, who is under the team's control for 2013 through an option, Alderson told Costa he is more confident of retaining him than he was about Jose Reyes remaining. Still, the GM said in lawyer-like fashion: "I think he would like to stay in New York, not to the exclusion of all other considerations. And I think there's a willingness on our part to accommodate that."

Regarding Dickey, for whom the Mets also have a 2013 option, Alderson said: "That depends on what R.A. wants to do. I've told him personally I think he's part of our long-term solution and we'd like to have him here beyond next year."

Alderson complimented Terry Collins' performance, but the manager's option already has been picked up for 2013, and the GM said he had not yet put thought into an extension beyond that. "Terry's done a great job again this year, and I'm very happy with the job he's done and the working relationship he's had," Alderson said. "That's something we'll consider a little bit into the future."

Collins told Mark Hale in the Post about getting security beyond 2013: “If I deserve an extension, I think I’ll get one. If not, I won’t. That stuff, it hasn’t even crossed my mind, to be honest.”


Rob Tringali/Getty Images
Catcher Kelly Shoppach was acquired from the Red Sox on Tuesday.


• The Mets acquired righty-hitting catcher Kelly Shoppach from the Red Sox for a player to be named after putting in a waiver claim. Shoppach is due to be activated for Wednesday's game against Cincinnati, with Rob Johnson seemingly ticketed for Triple-A Buffalo, at least until rosters expand Sept. 1. Shoppach, who is earning $1.135 million this season, is due to be a free agent after the season, so the addition gives the Mets a temporary, up-close look at him to determine his worthiness to sign as Josh Thole's complement for 2013. Collins expects a platoon with the lefty-hitting Thole.

“He’s going to catch certainly against the left-handers. That’s one of the reasons why we got him,” Collins said. “I know one of the reasons we want to take a look at him the last six weeks here is to see how he’ll fit.”

Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Post, Daily News and Times.

• At Citi Field, Ecuador faces Chile in a soccer match tonight.

As for this week's Post report that a Major League Soccer expansion team is slated to play in a stadium to be constructed at Flushing Meadows Corona Park adjacent to Citi Field, Fred Wilpon and family are not believed to be part of any ownership group -- at least if MLS already has identified owners for the prospective addition to the league.

• Wright went 0-for-3 with a walk Tuesday and is now hitting .248 with five homers in 30 games since the All-Star break. Collins reiterated after Tuesday's loss that the offense is entirely too dependent on Wright. Wright told Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger: "You’re bound to go through a period like I’ve been going through, where you just feel a little bit uncomfortable, a little bit out of sync. I’ve been just searching to get back to where I feel comfortable. I think some of it’s fatigue. I think some of it’s just what happens.”

• Brooklyn Cyclones pitchers Luis Mateo, John Mincone, Hansel Robles and Gabriel Ynoa combined to toss 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out six, as the NL beat the AL, 8-1, in Tuesday's New York-Penn League All-Star Game. Mincone, who struck out both batters he faced, was credited with the win.

Jeurys Familia tossed seven scoreless innings and combined with Robert Carson on a shutout and Matt den Dekker produced a grand slam as Buffalo beat Pawtucket, 6-0. It was den Dekker's second grand slam with the Bisons. He also had one Aug. 6. "I don't think I've had a grand slam in pro ball before that, so it's kind of crazy it happened in a matter of 10 days," den Dekker said. Read Tuesday's full minor league recap here.


Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Jay Bruce gets a pie to the face from starting pitcher Mat Latos after delivering a walk-off homer.


• Young became the first Mets pitcher with a 12-baserunner, no-run start since Bobby Jones against the Braves in 1996, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He ultimately was credited with 5 2/3 scoreless innings after Ramon Ramirez entered and retired Drew Stubbs on a groundout to strand the bases loaded. Read game recaps in the Times, Newsday, Record, Daily News and Post.

• Collins reiterated Tuesday he likely will implement a six-man rotation down the stretch and utilize Jeremy Hefner in a starting role. The rationale: Johan Santana and Young can use extra rest between starts returning from shoulder surgery. Matt Harvey is approaching the soft innings cap Alderson had identified. And Niese performs better with an extra day anyway. Harvey currently has logged 132 1/3 innings between Buffalo and the majors, with the GM saying 170 innings is a logical limit. Niese has a 5.49 ERA on standard rest, a 2.53 ERA with one extra day, and a 1.80 ERA with two-plus days of extra rest between starts.

• Left-hander Garrett Olson cleared waivers and was outrighted to Buffalo. Olson lost his roster spot when Santana was activated from the disabled list Saturday.

Dillon Gee believes he will be cleared to begin throwing during a scheduled Aug. 24 exam in St. Louis with the medical team that performed the surgery to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder. Gee does not expect to return this season.

Mike Pelfrey, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery performed on May 1, is scheduled to begin tossing a baseball Tuesday. Pelfrey is expected to be cut loose in December. Otherwise, the Mets would be responsible for paying him at least $4.55 million -- 80 percent of this year's salary.

• The Mets are partnering with the Red Cross to host a blood drive in the Caesars Club at Citi Field on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donors will receive two free tickets to the Sept. 17 game between the Mets and Phillies. Appointments can be made in advance by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by visiting redcrossblood.org. Use Reference Sponsor Code "16064nyp."

TRIVIA: With which team did Shoppach make his major league debut?

Tuesday's answer: The Tigers selected Cameron Maybin and the Pirates selected Andrew McCutchen with the two first-round picks between the Mets' Pelfrey (No. 9 overall) and the Reds' Bruce (No. 12) in 2005.

Series preview: Mets at Reds

August, 14, 2012
8/14/12
10:05
AM ET

US Presswire
The Mets face (l to r) Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Homer Bailey during a midweek series at Great American Ball Park.
METS (55-60, third place/NL East) vs. CINCINNATI REDS (69-46, first place/NL Central)

Tuesday: RHP Chris Young (3-6, 4.87) vs. RHP Mat Latos (10-3, 3.81), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP R.A. Dickey (15-3, 2.72) vs. RHP Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Matt Harvey (1-3, 3.63) vs. RHP Homer Bailey (10-7, 4.08), 7:10 p.m. ET

Reds short hops

Joey Votto (.342, 14 HR, 49 RBIs) underwent arthroscopic left knee surgery July 17 to repair torn meniscus cartilage. He originally suffered the injury June 29, sliding into third base against San Francisco. Votto further injured the knee sliding last Wednesday while working toward a return and had a second, brief procedure two days later to remove floating cartilage. Votto is expected to return before the end of the month. Cincinnati is 19-8 since Votto became sidelined.

• Rutgers product Todd Frazier has manned either first or third base the past 13 games. Third baseman Scott Rolen (back) missed a fourth straight game Sunday because of back spasms. Minus Votto and Rolen, either ex-Met Miguel Cairo mans first and Frazier third, or Frazier mans first and fellow ex-Met Wilson Valdez handles the hot corner.

• Slumping right fielder Jay Bruce was hitless in 13 at-bats before producing a two-run homer Sunday. He had sat the previous two games because of a lack of production. Despite 22 homers this season, Sunday’s long ball was Bruce’s lone long ball in August. He is hitting .223 (21-for-94) since the All-Star break. Bruce, an All-Star, nonetheless has joined Frank Robinson as the only players in Reds history to reach the 20-homer plateau in each of their first five seasons in the majors.


Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Aroldis Chapman has surrendered only one earned run against National League foes this season.


• Left-hander Aroldis Chapman, named to his first All-Star team this season, is a Cy Young candidate along with fellow closer Craig Kimbrel of the Braves. Chapman registered 103 mph with his fastball multiple times during the weekend and has a historic strikeout rate.

Chapman was named MLB’s Delivery Man of the Month for July after going 13-for-13 in converting save chances while striking out 31, allowing six hits and walking two in 14 1/3 scoreless innings. The 13 saves fell one shy of the franchise record for any month, set by Jeff Shaw in September 1997.

Chapman has converted 20 straight save chances, the longest streak by a Red since Rob Dibble in 1991 tied John Franco’s single-season franchise record by converting 23 straight. Ex-Red Francisco Cordero converted 29 straight spanning the 2008 and ’09 seasons. Chapman has a 0.17 ERA against NL teams this season. The Mets tallied an unearned run against him May 17, while Pittsburgh is the lone NL team to produce an earned run. The flame-throwing southpaw allowed seven earned runs in interleague play.

• The Reds acquired Jonathan Broxton from the Royals at the trading deadline for right-hander Juan Carlos Sulbaran and left-hander Donnie Joseph. Broxton had a 2.27 ERA and 23 saves in 27 chances with Kansas City, but has surrendered four runs in four innings spanning five appearances since the deal.

• Catcher Devon Mesoraco returned from a seven-day concussion DL stint Thursday. He has appealed a three-game suspension for bumping ump Chad Fairchild on July 30, the day he suffered the concussion. Dioner Navarro was demoted.

• Second baseman Brandon Phillips missed five games last week with a strained left calf, but is hitting .347 (34-for-98) since the All-Star break.

• Cincinnati has used only five starting pitchers this season -- Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Mike Leake. That’s a modern franchise record. The last major league team that used five starting pitchers wire-to-wire was the 2003 Seattle Mariners, also with Bryan Price as pitching coach. Cincinnati’s streak is expected to end Aug. 18 with a day-night doubleheader.

• The Reds are an MLB-best 22-8 since the All-Star break.

Last series results

Cincinnati won, 3-0, at Citi Field, June 15-17 (AP game recaps)

Reds 7, Mets 3: Jay Bruce hit an inside-the-park homer that left Jason Bay with another concussion and Bronson Arroyo notched his first victory in 5½ weeks. Brandon Phillips added a two-run shot. Reds slugger Joey Votto and Mets star David Wright were both hit by pitches, but neither led to any trouble. Arroyo (3-4) was pulled in the seventh, having allowed Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ third homer in two games and a two-run drive by Scott Hairston. More

Reds 4, Mets 1: Homer Bailey pitched out of trouble for eight innings and Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer. David Wright hit two of four Mets drives that were caught within steps of the wall. One night after Joey Votto and Wright were both hit by pitches, this time it was Bruce and Lucas Duda. But again, no trouble ensued. Bailey was hit hard by the Mets twice last year in his only previous outings against them. This time he allowed six hits and one walk while striking out three to improve to 4-1 in his last six starts. Aroldis Chapman tossed a hitless ninth for his eighth save. Jon Niese (4-3) made one big mistake to Bruce during seven otherwise effective innings. He struck out seven and walked one. More

Reds 3, Mets 1: Second baseman Brandon Phillips made a between-the-legs flip to start a flashy double play and also hit a tiebreaking single, leading Johnny Cueto and the Reds to a sweep and their sixth straight win. Cueto (8-3) overcame an early bout of dizziness and struck out a season-high eight in seven innings. He also doubled for the first extra-base hit of his career. The only run against Cueto came when he issued a bases-loaded walk to Chris Young. Sean Marshall got four outs for his ninth save in 10 chances. It was 3-1 in the sixth when Lucas Duda led off with a single and Ike Davis followed with a hard grounder up the middle that Phillips backhanded. While in full stride, the All-Star tossed the ball with his bare hand between his legs to shortstop Zack Cozart, who made the relay. Phillips' single capped a three-run rally in the fifth, helped by Duda's wild throw from right. More

Niese laments location on Bruce homer

June, 16, 2012
6/16/12
11:12
PM ET
After consecutive batters reached base to open Saturday's game, Jon Niese had all but escaped by striking out Joey Votto, coaxing a flyout from Brandon Phillips, then getting ahead in the count, 0-2, to Jay Bruce.


Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Jon Niese surrendered the decisive three-run homer to Jay Bruce in the first inning, on an 0-2 curveball.


Bruce, however, delivered a two-strike curveball beyond the right-field wall. The three-run homer proved all Cincinnati needed in a 4-1 win against the Mets at Citi Field on Saturday night.

"I don't regret throwing the pitch. I regret hanging it on the inside part of the plate," Niese said. "Hindsight is 20-20. I probably should have threw a fastball up and in and been done with it. Maybe he would have swung through it. Maybe not. That's baseball. It's one pitch. One mistake can cost you the game. And it did."

Said Terry Collins: "He made one bad pitch. Otherwise, he pitched a very good game."

• Neither side appeared to take issue with Niese plunking Bruce, then Lucas Duda getting hit square in the back by Homer Bailey. It's the second straight day the teams exchanged hit-by-pitches.

• The Mets' eight-game streak with a homer at Citi Field came to an end. The streak was the longest in the four-season-old stadium's history.

Ike Davis sent a couple of balls to the track that were caught and finished 1-for-4. His average now sits at .192. Davis does have a seven-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .500 (10-for-20).

• Duda has reached base safely in a career-high 19 straight games.

• The Mets were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. "We're sitting in our position today because we hit with two outs," Collins said. "And today we didn't. We had plenty of opportunities to get back in the game."

Rapid Reaction: Reds 4, Mets 1

June, 16, 2012
6/16/12
9:55
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: Jon Niese surrendered a three-run homer to Jay Bruce in the first inning and the Mets stranded runners in scoring position three straight frames en route to a 4-1 loss to Cincinnati on Saturday night at Citi Field.

Niese’s line: 7 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP.

STRANDED: The Mets actually left runners in scoring position in four of the first six innings, including a first-and-third, no-out opportunity in the second. After Scott Hairston doubled and Josh Thole moved him to third with a single, Omar Quintanilla popped out to second baseman Brandon Phillips in shallow right field, Niese’s bunt attempt resulted in a fielder’s choice that retired Thole at second base, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis flied out to end the threat.

The Mets’ lone run came on consecutive first-inning doubles by Daniel Murphy and David Wright.

HIT PARADE: A day after Wright was grazed in the stomach by Sean Marshall, likely in response to Dillon Gee plunking Joey Votto, the teams traded hit-by-pitches again. Niese plunked Bruce in the fourth inning, in the slugger’s next plate appearance after his homer. In the sixth, Homer Bailey drilled Lucas Duda in the back.

WHAT’S NEXT: Chris Young (1-0, 3.38 ERA) will try to prevent the Mets from getting swept for the second time in three series when he opposes Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto (7-3, 2.46) in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. series finale. The Reds have not swept a three-game series in Queens since 2001, when Steve Trachsel, Al Leiter and Kevin Appier were charged with the losses and future Met Danny Graves saved all three games.

Two series ago, the Mets were swept in the Bronx. They then went to St. Petersburg, Fla., and swept the Rays.

Mets morning briefing 6.16.12

June, 16, 2012
6/16/12
8:35
AM ET
Dillon Gee surrendered a pair of homers -- one of the inside-the-park variety -- and the Mets lost Jason Bay to a suspected concussion in a 7-3 defeat against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night at Citi Field.

Saturday's news reports:

• Bay suffered the head injury making contact with the wall on a second-inning diving attempt during what became an inside-the-park homer for Jay Bruce. Terry Collins said Bay was woozy and was taken home by security personnel. The left fielder almost assuredly will land on the seven-day concussion disabled list. Justin Turner's rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo will be cut short after two games and eight at-bats, and the infielder should be activated to take Bay's roster spot.

Bay had been 2-for-25 since returning from a DL trip prompted by a fractured rib, which also was suffered attempting a diving outfield catch. This is not Bay's first concussion, which adds to the concern. He suffered a whiplash-induced concussion at Dodger Stadium on July 23, 2010. Bay then played two more games and did not return for the remainder of that season.


Frank Franklin II/Associated Press
Trainer Ray Ramirez escorts Jason Bay off the field in the second inning Friday night.


With Bay's loss, Collins said there still is enough outfield depth to get by with Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Scott Hairston and Andres Torres as well as Vinny Rottino and Jordany Valdespin -- hence Turner's early return and not the promotion of an outfielder.

The Mets face another four straight right-handers: Homer Bailey on Saturday (versus Jon Niese), Johnny Cueto on Sunday, then Baltimore's Jake Arrieta and Tommy Hunter the first two games of an interleague series at Citi Field. The next southpaw starter due to face the Mets is the Orioles' Brian Matusz on Wednesday.

As a result, it's logical for at least the next four games for Nieuwenhuis to continue to start in center and Duda in right field. As for left field, Collins was noncommittal postgame. Even though Torres is a switch-hitter, he -- like Hairston -- is much more effective against left-handed pitching. Although Valdespin could get a start, Hairston may see the most action. Collins chose to insert Hairston once Bay came out of Friday's game. And Hairston started consecutive games last week against right-handed pitching, including when Bay was scratched in D.C. with suspected ill effects of an antibiotic.

Turner, playing second base, and Ronny Cedeño at shortstop each went 1-for-4 in a rehab game Friday night with Triple-A Buffalo. It was only Turner's second rehab game. The plan originally was to have him stay with the Bisons through the weekend and see more pitching.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post suggests it's time to terminate Bay's career with the Mets, for the good of the team and the player. Writes Kernan:

No Met has struggled like Bay, but once again he put his body in jeopardy. The wall always wins. Just ask Mike Baxter, who made a catch for the ages on June 1 ago to save Johan Santana’s no-hitter. That is the only way Bay knows how to play, but the sad truth is Bay’s Mets career at this point is a total lost cause and he figures to be out a substantial amount of time again. He had just returned from a fractured rib which was caused by a dive for another fly ball. In late July of 2010, he suffered a terrible concussion slamming into the left-field wall at Dodger Stadium that finished his season. Bay has suffered three knockout punches and each time he was injured, the air was sucked out of the Mets. Bay’s four-year, $66 million contract that runs through next season may be the worst deal in Mets history. For his own good, and their own, the Mets have to find a new home for Bay, they have to eat what’s left of the deal and send him somewhere he can get a fresh start.

Columnist Tim Smith in the Daily News also writes about Bay's career and the expectations that came with a four-year, $66 million deal:

Bay’s injury history, lack of production and salary ($16 million this season) have worn on the patience of Mets fans, who consider him the biggest free agent bust since Ollie Perez and Luis Castillo left town. Bay is bringing up those old bad vibes, even in a feel-good season for the Mets. If his latest injury knocks Bay out for an extended period, he will go to the head of the class with Mo Vaughn and Bobby Bonilla as far as Mets free-agent busts go. Here is what the Mets have gotten on their $66 million investment so far: 22 home runs, 110 RBI, two concussions, a fractured rib and the reality of non-existent slugging prowess.

• Read game recaps/Bay injury coverage in the Star-Ledger, Journal, Newsday, Record, Daily News, Times and Post.

• The Mets' appeal in an attempt to credit R.A. Dickey with a no-hitter Wednesday at Tampa Bay has been denied by Joe Torre and Major League Baseball. Dickey described himself as "fairly relieved" at the resolution, since there would always have been an asterisk by the feat had B.J. Upton's first-inning infield single been changed to an error on third baseman David Wright, who was unable to cleanly barehand the ball. Jerry Koosman, whose franchise-record scoreless innings streak was topped with the knuckleballer's performance against the Rays, happened to be at Citi Field on Friday as part of a Mets alumni event. Dickey's streak ended at 32 2/3 innings with an unearned run in the ninth Wednesday. Koosman's former record, set in 1973, had been 31 2/3 innings. Read more in Newsday, the Post, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Record.

Dickey, by the way, will appear at the Yogi Berra Museum at Montclair State University on Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to sell signed copies of his memoir.

David Wright was grazed by his stomach with an eighth-inning pitch from Sean Marshall, which the third baseman believed was payback for Gee hitting Joey Votto in the back with a pitch five innings earlier. Still, Wright had no problem with the grazing. You may recall Wright being pulled against his will from a lopsided May 15 game against Milwaukee because Collins feared D.J. Carrasco's plunking of Ryan Braun would elicit retribution. Read more in the Post and Daily News.

Jenrry Mejia tossed a scoreless inning as his two-week preparation in Buffalo for major league bullpen duty began, and Matt den Dekker delivered his first Triple-A homer, but the Bisons lost to Pawtucket, 8-3. Mejia coaxed three groundouts and a surrendered a single in a 19-pitch frame. According to the Buffalo News' Mike Harrington, the final pitch -- at 95 mph -- shattered a bat. Read Friday's full minor league recap here. Read more on the Bisons' recent slide in the Buffalo News.

Anthony M. Destefano in Newsday has details of the revitalization plans for the land adjacent to Citi Field, which currently mostly houses auto-repair businesses. Writes Destefano:

The plans announced Thursday call for the environmental remediation of 23 acres of contaminated land east of Citi Field. The project was approved by the city in 2008, but faced unsuccessful legal challenges from property owners. [Mayor Mike] Bloomberg said about 95 percent of the land in the eastern zone has been acquired by the city through purchases. The latest proposal, which requires zoning changes, environmental review and approval by the City Council, adds some new elements, notably a Willets West project for an area immediately west of Citi Field. Willets West will convert current stadium parking into a 1-million-square-foot retail and entertainment center, with more than 200 retail stores of all sizes, movie theaters, restaurants, entertainment venues, a parking structure and surface parking for 2,500 cars, the city said.

The first redevelopment phase, an area east of Citi Field, calls for construction of retail, hotel and commercial space. Some 2,500 housing units are also provided for later, with 875 units labeled "affordable."

• The Brooklyn Cyclones, who open their New York-Penn League season Monday against the Staten Island Yankees at Coney Island, officially announced their roster. It includes 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo, a high school outfielder from Wyoming, who had been participating in extended spring training. It also includes Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki, the 35th overall pick in the draft, who signed for a reported $1.47 million. The local angles include left-hander John Mincone, who is a product of Half Hollow Hills East and Suffolk Community College West on Long Island, as well as 12th-round pick Rob Whalen, whose entire family hails from Queens. Whalen as an 8-year-old won the "Tom Seaver Most Outstanding Pitcher Award" at a Mets-sponsored camp at Long Neck, N.Y.

The full Cyclones roster:

Pitchers: Matt Bowman, Luis Cessa, Darwin Frias, Jeremy Gould, Julian Hilario, Matt Koch, Rainy Lara, Luis Mateo, Mincone, Hansel Robles, Richard Ruff, Paul Sewald, Juan Urbina, Tyler Vandenheinden, Brandon Welch, Whalen, Beck Wheeler, David Wynn, Ernesto Yanez, Gabriel Ynoa.

Catchers: Xorge Carrillo, Jeff Glenn, Plawecki, Nelfi Zapata.

Infielders: Cole Frenzel, Alex Sanchez, Richie Rodriguez, Jorge Rivero, Jeff Reynolds, Dimas Ponce, Juan Gamboa, Phillip Evans, Yucarybert De La Cruz.

Outfielders: Jonathan Clark, Julio Concepcion, Nimmo, Eudy Pina, Stefan Sabol.

Read more in the Cyclones in the Post.

• 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini and Plawecki took batting practice at Citi Field before Friday's game and met with the New York media. Cecchini, a high school shortstop from Louisiana and the 12th overall pick, is ticketed for Class A Kingsport. He chose to wear No. 2 out of respect for favorite player Derek Jeter. Read more in Newsday.

• Fourth-round pick Branden Kaupe, a speedy switch-hitting infielder from Hawaii, has agreed to sign for $225,000 -- below the commissioner's recommendation of $323,900 for that slot, according to Baseball America's Jim Callis.

Cody Derespina in Newsday talks to players who transitioned from infield to outfield.

TRIVIA: Who has the Mets' last inside-the-park homer?

Friday's answer: Benny Agbayani went on the radio with Howard Stern before the 2000 Subway Series and lightheartedly predicted the Mets would win the World Series.

Rapid Reaction: Reds 6, Mets 3

May, 16, 2012
5/16/12
10:02
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: Poor Johan Santana. And this time, it didn’t get to Frank Francisco for the bullpen letdown to occur.

Cincinnati scored four runs in the eighth inning to deprive Santana of another win and leave Terry Collins’ maneuvering open to second-guessing as the Mets lost to the Reds, 6-3, Wednesday at Citi Field.

Despite Bobby Parnell requiring only five pitches to strike out Zack Cozart and strand a runner in scoring position inherited from Santana to end the seventh, Collins went with Jon Rauch to start the eighth.

Rauch proceeded to allow a leadoff single to Drew Stubbs, then double to lefty-hitting Joey Votto that put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. Collins alternatively could have used Parnell to face Stubbs, then gone with southpaw Tim Byrdak to try to neutralize Votto, the lone lefty hitter in Cincinnati’s starting lineup.

(With only one southpaw in the bullpen, Collins may have been holding Byrdak back for an inevitable pinch-hit opportunity by Jay Bruce. Byrdak had struck out Bruce twice in Cincinnati last year, after serving up the walk-off homer to Bruce that clinched the NL Central title for the Reds the previous year while with the Houston Astros.)

Anyway, Rauch then surrendered a game-tying RBI single to Brandon Phillips. Byrdak eventually was brought in when Bruce entered as a pinch hitter, and Bruce delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly to right field.

Collins, left with few remaining bullpen options given Ramon Ramirez tossed 2 2/3 innings the previous night once D.J. Carrasco was tossed for hitting Ryan Braun, went with Carrasco. He served up a first-pitch two-run homer to Toms River, N.J., native Todd Frazier.

Frazier, starting with Scott Rolen on the DL, also had homered the previous inning against Santana to pull Cincinnati within 3-2.

YO! Santana limited Cincinnati to two runs and six hits while walking two and striking out five in 6 2/3 innings.

ALMOST FAMOUS: Ike Davis snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a tiebreaking RBI double in the sixth inning and Mike Nickeas followed by becoming the second Met with a successful squeeze bunt on the brief homestand as the Mets took a 3-1 lead in the sixth.

Votto, the reigning NL Gold Glove winner at first base, committed a costly error that opened the door.

With the score tied at 1, Lucas Duda opened the half-inning with a single. Daniel Murphy then sent a hard smash to Votto, who fielded the ball while on the ground. Votto wildly threw to second, allowing Duda to advance to third and Murphy to reach safely. Davis then followed with the RBI double. And Nickeas gave the Mets the 3-1 lead by joining Ronny Cedeno as this week’s successful squeeze bunters.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets complete a four-game homestand as R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.65 ERA) opposes right-hander Mat Latos (2-2, 4.54). They then don hockey apparel in a team-building exercise, grab their passports and head to Toronto for the first time since 2006.

US Presswire
The Mets face Mike Leake (left) and Mat Latos (right) during a two-game midweek series against Cincinnati.
METS (20-16, third place/NL East) vs. CINCINNATI REDS (18-17, second place/NL Central)

Wednesday: LHP Johan Santana (1-2, 2.92) vs. RHP Mike Leake (0-5, 7.11), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.65) vs. RHP Mat Latos (2-2, 4.54), 1:10 p.m. ET

Reds short hops

• The right side of Cincinnati’s infield should remain stable for a long time. First baseman Joey Votto signed a 10-year, $225 million extension with the Reds on April 4 that locks him up as least through 2023. Six days later, second baseman Brandon Phillips signed a six-year, $72.5 million contract, through 2017. Votto won the 2010 NL MVP, is a two-time All-Star and earned last year’s Gold Glove at first base. Phillips has been an All-Star the past two seasons and has three Gold Glove awards.


Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Jay Bruce is hitting .365 with seven homers in his past 17 games.


Votto on Sunday became the first player in major league history with three homers in a game including a walk-off grand slam. The final blow came against Washington’s Henry Rodriguez. Votto joined Johnny Bench, Gus Bell, Eric Davis and Aaron Boone as the only players to have multiple three-homer games in their Reds careers. His bat will be turned over to the Hall of Fame, although Votto is not done using it yet. Votto’s first two homers came off Nats starter Edwin Jackson.

• Former Phillie Ryan Madson, who signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Reds last offseason that includes a 2013 mutual option, will not throw a pitch for the organization this season. Madson underwent Tommy John surgery last month. Sean Marshall, who was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in December for left-hander Travis Wood, outfielder Dave Sappelt and minor league infielder Ronald Torreyes, has six saves in the closer’s role.

• The Reds will become the first team since interleague play began to face both New York teams consecutively in the Big Apple. After the two-game series against the Mets, Cincinnati shifts to Yankee Stadium for a weekend interleague series. According to STATS LLC, it will mark the seventh time since interleague play began that a team consecutively has faced opponents in the same market. The Texas Rangers will become No. 8 next month, when they have a combined seven straight games at Oakland and San Francisco.

Aroldis Chapman has tossed 18 1/3 scoreless innings, the most innings logged without allowing a run in the majors among relievers this season.

Mike Leake (0-5, 7.11 ERA) produced his shortest career start Friday at Washington, lasting only three innings while allowing six earned runs. He played at Arizona State with Ike Davis.

• Third baseman Scott Rolen landed on the disabled list Saturday because of left shoulder soreness. Rutgers product Todd Frazier has manned the position in Rolen’s absence, with infielder Mike Costanzo called up to take Rolen’s roster spot.

Zack Cozart became the first rookie shortstop to start on Opening Day for the Reds since Dave Concepcion and Frank Duffy did it consecutively in 1970 and ’71.

• Right fielder Jay Bruce is hitting .365 with seven homers and 17 RBIs in his past 17 games.

Mat Latos was acquired from the San Diego Padres on Dec. 17 for Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger.

• Ex-Met Miguel Cairo returned May 7 from the disabled list, where he had landed with a left hamstring strain. The Reds also employ a second former Met as a utility infielder: Wilson Valdez. Cairo could see limited action at third base if Frazier underperforms.

Matchups

Santana vs. Reds (career: 4-0, 3.23 ERA)
Miguel Cairo .294, 2 BB, 6 K, 20 PA
Brandon Phillips .263, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 22 PA
Joey Votto .250, 3 BB, 3 K, 15 PA
Wilson Valdez .200, 2 K, 5 PA
Jay Bruce .182, 1 RBI, 3 K, 11 PA
Ryan Ludwick .160, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 9 K, 27 PA
Drew Stubbs .000, 4 PA

Dickey vs. Reds (career: 1-0, 2.70 ERA)
Ryan Ludwick .333, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 6 PA
Todd Frazier .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Jay Bruce .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Miguel Cairo .333, 3 PA
Wilson Valdez .250, 1 BB, 3 K, 9 PA
Drew Stubbs .250, 1 RBI, 2 K, 4 PA
Brandon Phillips .200, 1 RBI, 1 K, 5 PA
Ryan Hanigan .000, 1 PA

Leake vs. Mets (career: 0-1, 2.19 ERA)
Justin Turner .667, 1 BB, 4 PA
Ronny Cedeno .364, 1 RBI, 12 PA
Daniel Murphy .333, 3 PA
Andres Torres .286, 1 BB, 4 K, 8 PA
David Wright .167, 2 K, 6 PA
Ike Davis .000, 2 PA

Latos vs. Mets (career: 2-1, 3.00 ERA)
Ronny Cedeno .500, 1BB, 5 PA
Lucas Duda .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Andres Torres .308, 1 RBI, 5 K, 13 PA
David Wright .143, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 8 PA
Ike Davis .000, 1 K, 2 PA
Rob Johnson .000, 2 PA

Last series results

Cincinnati won, 2-1, at Citi Field, Sept. 26-28, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Reds 6, Mets 5: Chris Heisey hit a go-ahead, three-run homer just moments after making a diving catch and Cincinnati held off New York. Jose Reyes had three hits for the Mets to take over the NL batting lead, but his baserunning blunder in the eighth inning cost them a chance to tie the game. Reyes lined an RBI double into the right-field corner to cut it to 6-5. Perhaps expecting a throw to the plate that would allow him to take third, Reyes took a wide turn around second -- much too far. The Reds threw behind him and he was easily tagged out. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce singled off Tim Byrdak (2-1) in the seventh before Heisey hit the first pitch from Josh Stinson over the 16-foot fence in left field. Logan Ondrusek (5-5) got one out for the win and Francisco Cordero escaped a jam in the ninth to earn his 36th save.

Reds 5, Mets 4 (13 innings): Jose Reyes hit two solo homers, putting pop into his bid for the NL batting title, but the Reds won on Drew Stubbs' squeeze bunt in the 13th inning. Juan Francisco, who entered after Reds star Brandon Phillips exited early with a strained left quadriceps, hit a tying double with two outs in the ninth. He then hustled for a triple in the 13th and scored on Stubbs' bunt. Justin Turner lined into a double play with the bases loaded to end the game, leaving Reyes on deck. The Reds left the bases loaded in the 10th when pinch-hitter Dontrelle Willis struck out, and left them loaded again in the 11th when Chris Heisey grounded out. Sam LeCure (2-1) got the win and Francisco Cordero held on for his 37th save in 43 chances. Dale Thayer (0-3) took the loss. Both of Reyes' home runs came against Bronson Arroyo. Jay Bruce hit his 32nd home run and Joey Votto hit his 29th for the Reds.

Mets 3, Reds 0: After a bunt single in the first inning, Jose Reyes was finished. The strategy paid off: Reyes won the National League batting title that night when Milwaukee's Ryan Braun went 0-for-4. The hit elevated Reyes' average to .337057 and gave him a 2½-point lead over Braun. The Brewers star needed to go 3-for-4 to overtake Reyes. He finished at .332. And that gave the Mets their first batting champion. Fans chanted "Please stay, Jose!" throughout the ninth inning, and he gave a salute to the crowd as he walked off the field. Chants of "Jo-se Re-yes!" continued after he threw his hat into the stands as he disappeared into the home dugout. Meanwhile, Miguel Batista (5-2) pitched a two-hitter for his 11th complete game -- and his first since July 19, 2006, for Arizona. He allowed a one-out single to Edgar Renteria in the first and leadoff double to Chris Heisey in the second. Queens product Mike Baxter hit his first big league homer, a two-run drive off Edinson Volquez (5-7) in the sixth. Nick Evans singled in a run in the fourth. The Mets, beset with financial issues, traded Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez during the season, lost David Wright for several months with a back injury and finished their third straight losing season at 77-85. The Mets announced a crowd of 28,816, giving them a final attendance of 2,352,596, a drop of about 7 percent from 2010 and their lowest total since ’04.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187